The RMIT Urban Spaces Project
Publisher: Uro Publications 2015 Authors: Peter Elliott et al Editor: Maitiú Ward Design: Stuart Geddes ISBN: 9780994269706 Format: Paperback, 192pp, 210mm x 275mm
"One city block is like a little experiment in how you reimagine a city." – Peter Elliott, quoted in The Age
Episodic Urbanism is a book about the transformation of two city blocks in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. It tells the story of how Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design has worked, over the course of nearly two decades, to turn RMIT University’s inner city premises from what was essentially a private fortress into a public-spirited urban campus.
Touching on everything from Renaissance Italian townscapes to masterworks of 20th century city-making by the likes of Carlo Scarpa, Luis Barragán and Jože Plečnik, Episodic Urbanism illuminates the unique conceptual framework underpinning the success of RMIT’s rejuvenation. As the book demonstrates, this framework sits in stark contrast to typical master planning exercises that work to impose a single, homogenous vision. Instead, it privileges subtle, incremental change that is respectful of existing conditions and their history – which in RMIT’s case stretches right back to the foundation of Melbourne.
Presented in a visually rich, highly tactile format developed by graphic artist Stuart Geddes, Episodic Urbanism features contributions from several leading thinkers on urbanism and the city, including Leon van Schaik, William L Fox, SueAnne Ware and Robert Nelson. As an exploration of both urban and institutional renewal, it tells a story about how we might effect dramatic transformation within our cities, without the dramatic rupture commonly associated with ‘renewal’. It is an essential publication for those with an interest in how we can shape our cities for the better, not through erasure and homogenisation but with an appreciative eye to their history, diversity and vitality.
What others think...
"Episodic Urbanism is a beautiful publication that was selected by our panel of judges for its innovation and uniqueness. The design elements work harmoniously together and we commend the designer, Stuart Geddes and authors for the care and attention given to every aspect that makes this book outstanding." – Finalist, Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing 2017, presented by the National Gallery of Victoria
“It is no simple task to capture and document a project of this complexity, yet Episodic Urbanism does so with a charm that is reflective of the architectural work itself…a great delight to read.” – Winner, Bates Smart Architecture in the Media Award 2016
Australian Book Design Awards 2016 Shortlist – Best Fully Illustrated Book Over RRP$50
"RMIT's story of cutting edge design goes well beyond its Swanston Street surface." – The Age
"An intriguing and playful publication..." – Indesign
"Exquisite drawings; really sensitive, quiet insertions into the urban fabric, but all about the way that people use space... sublime architecture." – Simon Knott, Triple R
"What sets the book apart from recent practice monographs is the way it tells a larger story about ambitions for urban architecture within the contemporary city." – Architecture AU